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New Hotel Openings in US Dwindle

201102-b-hotel-istockjpgUSA Today |  Who doesn't love a splashy, new hotel opening?

Travelers love to stay in them, the press loves to write about them - and owners love to celebrate them.

"New hotel development is very sexy. They get a lot of press," Nicholas Clayton, president of the Viceroy Hotel Group, noted during the Americas Lodging Investment Summit in San Diego last week.

Yet, despite all the excitement - and the uptick in travel this year, we'll see fewer new hotels open their doors in the USA this year compared past years, a new forecast shows. (Photo by iStock)

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Forget that Big Tree; How about a Lifesize Gingerbread House?

Ritz-Carlton Charlotte Gingerbread House

While the tree at New York City’s Rockefeller Center typically gets top billing when it comes to conspicuous displays of holiday cheer, the lobby at the Ritz-Carlton Charlotte, North Carolina has something else entirely: a 1500-pound, 140 square-foot gingerbread house, complete with flickering lights (and real moss!). Baked in-house by executive chef Jon Farace and the staff at the BLT Steak restaurant, the 100% organic display hopes to bring some warmth and attention to this LEED-certified luxury hotel—the first of the Ritz-Carlton brand.

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Hermès Makes a Splash on the Left Bank

Hermes Paris

For the first time in its 173-year history, Hermès has ventured across the Seine to open a boutique on the Left Bank. But although this shop is the house’s second-largest (after the Right Bank flagship) it surpasses the "store" concept on several counts.

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Now Open, Brooklyn Winery: The Borough's First Urban Winemaker

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Brooklynites have been able to find vegetables, beer, and even wine produced in their own borough for quite awhile now. And while they’ve found ways to brew beer in their apartments, they haven’t been able to make their own vino. At least until the borough’s first winemaking center, Brooklyn Winery, opened its doors in Williamsburg a few weeks ago.

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Larry Gagosian Opens New Paris Gallery and Project Space

Larry Gagosian New Paris Gallery

This year is turning out to be even busier than usual for Larry Gagosian. On the eve of the opening of the FIAC (the international fair for contemporary art in Paris), the contemporary art dealer unveiled a new gallery—his ninth—in the 8th arrondissement, a stone’s throw from the Elysee Palace.

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Grand Reopening: Taj Hotels' Mumbai Flagship

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The Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai (previously the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower) is reopening on August 15, in celebration of India’s Independence Day, after extensive restorations on the waterfront 1903 flagship property’s Palace Wing.

The 107-year-old heritage wing of the hotel was badly damaged when terrorists stormed the hotel, taking hostages, and burning rooms in the November 2008 attacks on Mumbai, which also affected the Oberoi hotel (the hotel reopened in April). Mumbai, it appears, is starting a new chapter.

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29th Street: New York’s New Hotel Corridor?

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Continuing the precedent  set by the new Eventi of building hotels in unexpected Manhattan neighborhoods, the new Gansevoort Park Avenue will open on August 16 at the interesting but decidedly unhip corner of Park Avenue South at East 29th Street. In a sort of no-mans-land between Gramercy Park, Murray Hill, and Kips Bay (call it Grammurray Bay? Kipsmercy Hill?), the swanky new hotel may do for its neighborhood what its sister hotel, the Gansevoort, did for the now-ubertrendy Meatpacking District.

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Obsession: Blue Bottle in Brooklyn

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I’ve been hitting the bottle for breakfast lately. Not just any bottle—the new outpost of Blue Bottle Coffee Co. in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

This is the first time the cult Bay Area coffee roaster and café has branched out beyond its native turf. Since its opening in March, New Yorkers have given it our signature warm-slash-blasé welcome. Now that the shop has settled into its skin, it’s starting to host classes and public cuppings.

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Opening: Eco-Friendly InterContinental Times Square

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Yesterday Times Square welcomed the InterContinental to the neighborhood. On the corner of 44th Street and 8th Avenue, this is the newest hotel to be built from the ground up in Manhattan in the past eight years. The eco-friendly hotel, which had a "vine-cutting" ceremony at the grand opening ceremony, is currently seeking silver LEED certification, and if granted, it will be the largest new-build hotel on the East Coast to attain this environmental badge of honor due to green initiatives such as low-flow toilets, local and recycled construction materials, and two green roofs on the seventh and second floors.

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Opening: SPRING-time in Paris

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Daniel Rose’s excellent Paris adventure has all the ingredients of the best-selling expat tale it may someday become: smart kid from Chicago thinks he might be an art dealer or maybe an architect, studies classical Greek in Santa Fe, winds up in Europe, becomes a cooking school rebel and a clandestine cook, spends time in Italy and Japan, gets kicked out of a three-star kitchen, cooks for royalty, finds the internship of a lifetime in Brittany, opens a restaurant in Paris to instant acclaim, becomes the hardest table in town to book, gets dumped by his wife, closes the restaurant at the peak of its popularity, finds true love and— fast forward to this week—opens a new rendition of Spring. It’s the most anticipated opening of the year—and it shows all the signs of enjoying similar success.

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